In an attempt to support the officers’ claim that Chavis Carter shot himself in the head – while his wrists were cuffed behind his back as he sat in the rear of a cramped police car – Jonesboro, Arkansas police release a re-enactment video showing an unidentifiable office doing what police claim Carter did.
Further, police chief Michael Yates, who originally called Carter’s death “bizarre” and said it “defies logic at first glance,” reversed himself during an interview with CNN.
“The average person that’s never been in handcuffs, that’s never been around inmates and people in custody would react exactly the same way that you just did, about how can that be possible,” Yates said. “Well the fact of it is, it’s very possible and it’s quite easy.”
Yates has also said that eyewitness accounts and dashcam video support the story given by the two police officers on the scene – Keith Baggett and Ron March — when Carter was killed.
In the re-enactment, an office of Carter’s height and build squirms about with handcuffs and eventually maneuver his body to where he can point a toy gun at his head.
“The circumstances displayed are not intended to illustrate the only means by which an individual could injure themselves but merely to determine the feasibility of these actions,” the video states. “The investigation is active and awaits forensic and other investigative material that will be used to complete a full inquiry into this matter.”
The re-enactment does not show how two officers could have searched Carter twice, yet could uncover a small amount of marijuana, but not a gun on his person.
All this smells like sour milk to the black community, which continues to mount pressure for Yates’ resignation.
Re-enactment or not, the family insists the police cannot get around this important issue: Carter, who was 21, had no reason to kill himself. He, in fact, told his girlfriend on the phone during the intial traffic stop that he would call her from jail.
The investigation continues with the FBI’s involvement.